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ISSUE 120 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/27/2006

Letter to the editor

By Letter to the Editor
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dear Editor,

Last issue’s opinion article [“Rethink campus liquor”] addressed some very important issues that arise from a dry campus policy, but I must respectfully disagree with the conclusions drawn in the editorial.

As a senior, I have been exposed to a number of students who have chosen to drink in their rooms, as well as many Oles who abide by school policy and limit their consumption to off-campus locales. In both cases, students have shown their ability (or sometimes an unfortunate inability) to drink responsibly. As a former JC in Ellingson, I can all but guarantee that my residents found it none too difficult to drink in their rooms, so long as they weren’t stupid.

The policy does not promote binge drinking, as that type of behavior is more likely to result in being caught before the alcohol is completely out of the way, as the article put it. Viewing alcohol as something to be gotten out of the way is a problem with the individual, and not something that can be fixed by permitting alcohol on campus. An anonymous student stated that he has become a more responsible drinker due to a desire not to be written up for violating policy.

Incidentally, my last two summers have been spent doing research at institutions where drinking is much more integrated into the culture, and I cannot say that I have been impressed with how students have responded to the level of trust given them. I have witnessed friends binging, vomiting into toilets and potted plants, waking up neighbors, verbally breaching their significant other’s trust and returning from a night of drinking without having a designated driver among them. In no way has anything I’ve witnessed supported the idea that legalizing alcohol creates a sense of maturity in these young adults, many of them underage.

I turned 21 the summer before my junior year, and have certainly had more than enough time to contemplate the merits of drinking, both on and off campus. I can honestly say that I have never regretted St. Olaf’s policy for the plain and simple reason that I have seen the detrimental effects of alcohol on students drinking unsupervised in their residence hall rooms, particularly when the age of those students is less easily monitored than in an establishment licensed to serve liquor. Legalizing alcohol will not induce responsibility, but presently at least we have the tools to promote intelligence.

– Philip Grupe ‘07

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